Alaska fisheries to receive $50 million in aid

Alaska fisheries workers can finally see how they might benefit from a $50 million aid package from the federal government.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released the section 12005 CARES Act fisheries assistance draft spend plan for public comment on Monday. It determines how $50 million will be distributed to struggling fisheries around the state of Alaska.

It not only explains how the money will be divvied up, it also details who is eligible.

The current version was changed drastically, according to Alaska State House Representative Louise Stutes.

“I think that it would have been a lot more controversial, had the formula not been changed to an- to increase the formula for the sport guys,” said Stutes.

According to Stutes, the original breakdown would have only allotted sport fisheries and guides 5% of the funding, but now their slice of the assistance package has been upped to 32%. She says that after this adjustment, the distribution of funds is “fair and equitable.”

Sport fishing, commercial harvesting, and seafood processing each have a 32% cut of the total. Aquaculture will receive 1%, and the final 3% will go to subsistence fishing.

The plan will be available for public comment until 6PM October 19th and can be viewed at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website, and comments can be emailed to dfg.com.caresact@alaska.gov.

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced the fisheries relief money on May 7, to all coastal states and territories. Of the $300 million set aside for the nation, Alaska will receive $50 million. 100% of those funds will go as direct payments to partially cover losses incurred by the present economic slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

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